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Wetland and Inland Waterfront Permit Requirements

EGLE Water Resources Division regulates dredging, filling, construction and the operation of a marina, in inland lakes, streams, and wetlands under authority of Part 31, Water Resources Protection; Part 301, Inland Lakes and Streams; and Part 303 Wetland Protection, of the Natural Resource and Environmental Project Act, Act 451 of the Public Acts of 1994.

Below is a list of the most common types of waterfront projects that require permits. This is only a partial list of the most common projects associated with waterfront property.

  • Shore Protection Construction

    • Construction of any type of shore protection, including seawalls and riprap, at or below the Ordinary High Water Mark (OHWM) of a lake or stream requires a permit. Rock riprap is recommended to control erosion as it provides better habitat for many aquatic creatures. Rock riprap is also less impacting to the aquatic environment and the wildlife that uses the area. If a seawall is constructed, placement of rock at the toe is required to mitigate impacts to the aquatic resources


  • Permanent Docks or Permanent Boat Hoists 

    • Docks or hoists that are left in the lake year around require a permit. Seasonal structures do not require permits if they are for the private non-commercial use of a landowner, do not unreasonable interfere with the use if the water by others, and do not interfere with water flow.


  • Boardwalks and Paths constructed in regulated wetlands require a permit.

  • Beach Sanding 

    • The placement of sand, pea stone, or other fill material below the water line of the lake requires a permit. A reasonable amount of sand may be placed landward of the water line without a permit as long as the following conditions are met: the sand does not shift the location of the existing ordinary high water mark or shoreline contour and wetlands are not present.

  • Dredging or Excavation 

    • Any dredging below (waterward) the ordinary high water mark of a lake or stream or in a wetland requires a permit. Dredging of a pond within 500 feet of a lake or stream also requires a permit. In addition, a soil erosion permit is required from the county for any excavation within 500 feet of a waterbody. Using a tractor within the lake constitutes dredging.

  • Work in a Floodplain 

    • A permit is required for any filling, grade changes, or construction within the 100-year floodplain or any river, stream or drain.

  • Aquatic Weed Treatment 

    • The use of chemical pesticides in a lake requires a permit. The cutting or pulling by hand of vegetation does not need a permit, but all vegetation must be collected and removed from the lake and disposed of on an upland site. Using a tractor for weed control in the lake constitutes dredging and requires a permit.

This is only a partial list of the most common projects associated with waterfront property. Other types of activities may also require permits. For more information or a copy of the statutes, please contact EGLE's Water Resources Division at 231.876.4443.

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